When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”- Exodus 32:1-4 ESV
We haven’t changed much in all these years. These people were part of the 10 plagues of Egypt, they saw them, lived through them. They walked on dry land, that had been covered by the great sea- they saw it parted before their eyes, and watched the greatest army in the world be destroyed with water, that was parted and created a walkway for them. Yet, with all that experience and history they decided to make a GOD AFTER THEIR OWN IMAGE. Moses took too long with God, they grew impatient and not only fashioned a God after their own image but also if you read v6, “they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry”. In other words they were in a basic sexual orgy, partying, drinking- doing whatever they wanted. Does this sound like any country’s culture that we live in? Today, we do the same thing- we have not learned much, and we haven’t changed. We too make God into our image, we serve the God of our design. A group of Israelite elders came to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 14:1-8. We aren’t told why they came to Ezekiel because God cut them off from speaking and making their request. God immediately told Ezekiel that He would not entertain their requests because they had set up idols in their hearts. They had separated themselves from God through these idols. Before you deny that we do this, let us remind ourselves what an idol is. As Tim Keller states in his book Counterfeit Gods, an idol is “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, and anything that you seek to give you what only God can give.”
Leader, let’s take a look at some of the most common idols in today’s church, and those that IDENTIFY as Christians. Pride: “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:11) Pride can manifest itself in many ways. Sometimes it is hidden in attitudes and character traits. Disobedience to authority is often a matter of pride. Pride says, “don’t tell me what to do with my body, with my marriage, with my life”. Lust; “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mathew 5:27-28) Lust is defined as intense or unrestrained sexual craving, or an overwhelming desire or craving.” The Bible speaks of lust in several ways. Exodus 20:14, 17 “Do not commit adultery. . . Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns.” Lust has as its focus pleasing oneself, and it often leads to unwholesome actions to fulfill one’s desires with no regard to the consequences. Hear the Word of the Lord: “For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I own.” (Job 31:11-12)
Conduit, Religion can be an idol. I am defining religion as ‘man’s attempt to mandate God to approve of himself’. Religion is a series of “checked boxes”, that says, “If I do _, then God will accept me.” Believing that our “FILTHY RAGS” (Isaiah 64:6) mandate that God accepts me- that is ‘religion’. Hear the Word of the Lord: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28) Security can be an idol. Religion is finding SECURITY in “doing” something that makes you acceptable to God. True Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that brings ME security for what HE HAS DONE for me! We don’t EARN eternal life, it is a GIFT from Jesus to WHOSOEVER…. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30) Our security is not in our bank account, our 401k, in our job, or in our hands- a TRUE BELIEVER is secure in the LORD! Self: I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20) We are self-obsessed people. We have the tendency to filter everything through the lens of how it affects ‘ME’. However, the WORD says that we exist to glorify Christ and reveal His love to a hurting world. Rule #1 about being a disciple of Christ; It is NOT ABOUT ME! We believe, if we don’t look out for ourselves, who will? CHRIST WILL! We belong to an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful Savior who gave His everything so that we might live. In return, He asks that we willingly give ourselves to Him. Through surrender, we break free from the idol of self and in so doing, find the freedom to be all that God created us to be—men and women of purpose designed to glorify our Creator God. The Apostle Paul, and Jesus give us a way to TEAR DOWN OUR IDOLS. We must REMEMBER, WHOSE WE ARE! Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)
2 responses to “February 7. 2023”
Good stuff, Mr. Black. Joe and I were both so blessed by this!
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Thank you so much for the encouragement!